Top 10 Trekking Poles

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Tom Crandall Black Diamond Trekking PolesIf you’re looking for some of the Best Trekking Poles, our Top 10 Trekking Poles Review has you covered.  The top named manufacturers of trekking poles in the US are Leki and Black Diamond.  With that said, there are actually a few other companies out there producing quality trekking poles including REI, Komperdell, Mountain King, Raidlight and one Korean company called AeroBody.

Trekking poles come in fixed length and adjustable in both aluminum and carbon.  Carbon are usually the most expensive, but they are also the coolest and are often the most technically advanced.   We are going to cover the top of the line carbon poles as well as a few aluminum poles.

The trekking poles that are listed below are what we believe to be the best out there right now.  These poles incorporate the latest technology in trekking pole design and are absolute winners.

We have contacted all the companies and hope to give a comprehensive review of each pole covered here.  To give you a taste, check out our review of the Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ.

 

 

For those who hunger for the top of the line trekking poles, you’re looking at carbon all the way.  They’re light, responsive, functional and just plain great to look at.

Leki specializes in winter ski poles, gloves and trekking.

Our top picks for Leki are the Micro Vario and the Carbon Ti.  Both poles are at the top for innovation, great looks and portability.

Leki Micro Vario

  • 100% HM Carbon Shaft
  • AERGON Thermo Extended Grip
  • Air-textured strap wicks and dries quickly
  • push button connector
  • Speed Lock 2 for adjustment
  • 110 – 130cm adjustment
  • 14.6oz (413.9g) per pair
  • 15 inch pack size
  • Includes red nylon carry bag
  • (Retail $199)

Leki Micro Vario trekking pole

What makes the Micro Vario super cool is the long handle, light weight wrist strap and ease of setup and breakdown.  The Micro Vario is also able to deploy without having to set the speedlocks.  Simply pull away from the handle and the pole connects.  To break it down simply push on a push button and the poles disengage.

REVIEW: ETTN Review of the Leki Micro Vario Trekking Poles The Micro Vario is now Kathleen’s go to trekking poles.

Leki Carbon Ti

  • HTS 6.5 Series Aluminum upper shaft
  • 100% HM Carbon lower shafts
  • AERGON Thermo Grip
  • Air-textured strap wicks and dries quickly
  • SpeedLock 2 for Adjustment
  • Performance Basket
  • Carbide Tip
  • Matte Lacquer Finish
  • Weight: 14.9oz (422.4g) per pair
  • Length: 67-135 cm
  • Retail $199

Leki Carbon Ti Trekking pole

The Leki Carbon Ti adjusts using 2 SpeedLocks.  These are flip up locks that allow you to adjust the size of the pole.  The combination of a aluminum upper shaft with the lower carbon shaft adds only slightly more weight to each pole over full carbon.  We got to play around with the SpeedLocks and we preferred these over Black Diamonds FlickLocks.  We did find Black Diamond’s cork handles to be more comfortable.  The grip below the handle on these felt great when hand grip need to move down the shaft.

REVIEW: ETTN Review of the Leki SpeedLock Carbon Ti Trekking Pole  These are my current favorite poles to trek with and are probably the best all around poles out there.

Black Diamond is headquartered in Salt Lake City, where they have been serving the Salt Lake City community and the world since 1992.  Black Diamond specializes in climbing, skiing and of course trekking.

Our Top picks for Black Diamond are the Distance Carbon FLZ and the Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles.  These compare very well with their Leki counterparts and ooze innovation.

Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ

  • Lightweight, EVA foam grip with breathable, moisture-wicking grip
  • Non-slip EVA foam mini-grip extension
  • Three-section foldable shaft with speed-cone deployment and FlickLock Pro adjustability
  • 100% carbon fiber construction
  • Interchangeable, non-scarring rubber Tech Tips and carbide Tech Tips
  • Stopper basket with shaft catcher to secure folded sections
  • Weight Per Pair :
    • [95-110 cm] 345 g (.75 lb)
    • [105-125 cm] 355 g (.8 lb)
    • [120-140 cm] 365 g (.8 lb)
  • Usable Length :
    • [95-110 cm] 95-110 cm (37-43 in)
    • [105-125 cm] 105-125 cm (41-49 in)
    • [120-140 cm] 120-140 cm (47-55 in)
  • Collapsed Length :
    • [95-110 cm] 34 cm (13 in)
    • [105-125 cm] 37 cm (14 in)
    • [120-140 cm] 40 cm (15 in)
  • Retail – $179:95

Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZ Trekking Pole 1

 

The Distance Carbon FLZ is Black Diamond’s top of the line trekking/trail running trekking poles.

REVIEW: ETTN Review of the Distance Carbon FLZ is Black Diamond.  We really loved what these poles had to offer.

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Pole

  • 100% carbon fiber construction
  • Natural cork grip with dual-density top and 360-degree Nubuck strap
  • Non-slip foam mini-grip extension for secure choke ups
  • Dual FlickLock Pro
  • Interchangeable carbide Tech Tips, low-profile Trekking Baskets and Powder Baskets included
  • Weight Per Pair : 490 g (1 lb 1.2 oz)
  • Usable Length : 62.5-130 cm (25-51 in)
  • Collapsed Length : 62.5 cm (25 in)
  • Retail – $159.95

Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Pole

REVIEW: ETTN Review of the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles.  Beefy trekking poles that can standup to abuse.

REI was rooted in the outdoors when 23 mountain climbing buddies decided to build a consumer cooperative.  With a vast array of outdoor gear, REI dominates the outdoor market.

While not as sexy, REI Carbon Power locks get the job done.  REI has a fantastic return policy and they back it up with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, which is one of the best in the business.  For those looking to try out trekking for the first time, REI is a great choice.

REI Carbon Power Lock

  • Carbon fiber
  • Power Lock
  • Contoured EVA foam grips
  • Trekking basket
  • Tungsten carbide tips and tip protectors
  • Weight – 15.7oz (445g) per pair
  • Retail – $129

REI Carbon Power Lock Trekking Poles

If I am not mistaken, the REI Carbon Power Lock Trekking Poles are made by Komperdell.  Since we already love the Komperdells, not having tested these, we would probably give them a thumbs up.

Komperdell hails from AUSTRIA has been around since 1922.  They  produce great ski poles and overtime time got into the trekking pole market.

Our top picks for Komperdell are the Carbon Approach Vario 4 and the Explorer Contour Power Lock.  Again these compare well to the Black Diamond and Leki brands.

Komperdell Carbon Approach Vario 4 Compact

  • Expedition foam grip
  • new padded strap for even higher comfort
  • upper section: 100% carbon
  • lower section: Titanal .HF Rocksleeve
  • 4-section, new ingenious folding mechanism Approach 2.0 system
  • POWER LOCK II system
  • Trekking Ice basket
  • Trekking Ice tip
  • 3-YEAR WARRANTY KOMPERDELL offers a 3 year repair service, free of charge, for all telescopic poles
  • Weight: 15.1oz (428g) per pair
  • Packed size: 39cm
  • Extended size: 125cm
  • Retail – $179.95

Komperdell Carbon Approach Vario 4 Compact Trekking pole

The Carbon Approach Vario 4 is similar in design to the Black Diamond Distance Carbon FLZs and the Leki Carbon Ti.  Purely based on looks, I would opt for the other two.  We may change our mind if we can test the Vario 4 out.

REVIEW: ETTN reviews the Komperdell Carbon Expedition Vario Compact Trekking Pole  Great packable trekking pole.

Komperdell C3 Carbon Power Lock Compact

  • Expedition foam grip
  • Padded strap
  • 3-section:
    • upper section: carbon, Ø 18 mm
    • middle section: carbon, Ø 16 mm
    • lower section: Titanal .HF, Ø 14 mm
  • Power Lock 2.0 mechanism
  • vario Trekking basket
  • sizes: packed size: 54cm, max. length: 120cm
  • tungsten/carbide flex tip
  • weight: 210 grams per pole
  • 3 year repair service, free of charge

Komperdell C3 Carbon Power Lock Compact

 

REVIEW: ETTN reviews the Komperdell C3 Carbon Power Lock Compact Trekking Pole  Great packable trekking pole.

The Komperdell trekking poles are sold in Europe and the US.  The Power Lock Compact is similar in design to locking types for Black Diamond and Leki.  After testing the C3 for many weeks we feel this is one of our favorites. The handles are really comfortable and the pole adjustability is fantastic.

Raidlight is a French company making products for the trail runner and outdoor enthusiast.  Many of their products are designed for the minimalist in mind.

 

  • Carbon trail running poles
  • Kevlar-tipped
  • 3D mesh grips with wrist straps
  • Only 30cm required for storage
  • Size: 110 cm (45 cm fold up) or 123 cm (48 cm fold up)
  • Weight – 165ghttp://endthetrendnow.wpengine.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=8398&action=edit&message=10
  • Retail – $140

RaidLight Carbon Trekking Pole Ultra Running

 

The Raidlight Carbon Trail poles are in the category of sick light poles.  They are more than half the weight of the others, but they do come with some drawbacks.  These include adjustability and greater potential pole failure due to the poles containing less material to strengthen them.  This type of trekking pole is more geared towards the adventure racer and trail runners, where weight is an issue over longer stretches.  What makes these poles rather unique is a pull cord to quickly assemble and break down the poles and pole gloves.

Like many of the poles in this article we haven’t had a chance to test these out.

Mountain King is based out of Newcastle England and specializes in trekking poles for racing.

Like Raidlight, Mountain King has created specific pole geared towards the adventure/ultra racer, where weight can be pivotal to performing well on the race course.

Mountain King Trail Blaze

 

  • 4 Section high performance aluminium alloy trail pole
  • Carbide wear tip
  • Wrist strap
  • Airflow grip
  • Trekking baskets
  • Mesh bag
  • Length 110 cm, Weight 115 grams
  • Length 115 cm, Weight 120 grams
  • Length 120 cm, Weight 125 grams
  • Length 125 cm, Weight 130 grams
  • Length 130 cm, Weight 135 grams

 

Mountain King Trail Blaze Trekking Poles Ultra Running

So you are one of those weight weenies, well we have found your ultimate trekking pole.  The Mountain King Trail blaze is as light as it gets.  Coming in at 125 grams for a 120cm set of trekking poles is stupid light.  These are no frills getup and blast out trekking poles.  What makes these poles rather unique, other than their weight, is the Airflow grip and pull cord attachment system.  While these would be our preferred general trekking pole, they do have their calling when weight is a factor.  Heck these are so light that you might bring them places you normally wouldn’t consider.

Expedition Carbon Compact

  • 7075 Aluminium alloy wrapped in carbon fibre
  • Carbide wear tip
  • EVA grip and strap with reflective strip
  • Interchangeable snow and trekking baskets
  • Strap with reflective strip
  • Length 61 cm to 130 cm
  • Weight 185 grams

Mountain King Carbon Compact Trekking Poles

The Expedition Carbon Compact is a no thrills aluminum carbon wrapped pole.  The design is rather simple, but very functional.  Using a tried and true twist locks allow the user to adjust the poles from 61cm up to 130cm.  By keeping things simple, Mountain King can keep weight down.  Rather than going with the more advanced locking mechanisms of Leki or Black Diamond.  The drawback of course is ease of use.  The newer locking mechanisms in our testing are easier to make slight adjustments while on the go.

Aerobody is a South Korean manufacture of trekking poles.  There goal is to provide hot trendy items to the world.

Aerobody Alpenrod One Stick

We currently don’t have specks on Alpenrod Onestick, but expect to get a set in the coming weeks.  These are probably the heaviest trekking poles reviewed, but are still wickedly cool.

Aerobody Alpenrod Onestick Trekking Poles

Of all the trekking poles listed, the one that stood out the most for the best overall locking mechanism in our mind had to be the Alpenrod Onestick.  The ease at which the adjustment can be made is super fast.  The poles come with preset slots that ball bearings fall into enabling the poles to lock in place.  Our only concern with this method would be when debris gunk up the bearings.  Coming from an inline skating background bearings can get dirty and their performance lessens.  I would also like to see how these pole do in really muddy/wet conditions.

REVIEW: ETTN Review of the Aerobody Alpenrod One Stick Trekking Poles.

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About Author

Tom Crandall

Totally into multi-sports including triathlon, swimming, cycling, running skating and movement in general. Love to trail run and hang outdoors.

2 Comments

  1. Please be aware that the REI Carbon Power Lock Women’s Trekking Poles are package with a message hidden under the rubber basket that says that the locking mechanism must be tightened with a screwdriver and re-righted over time. Since the message is unreadable and since my black diamond poles lasted for over 2000 miles and never needed tightening and never collapsed, I did not carry a screw driver on my last long distance walk and my REI poles collapsed on me and I ended up with a concussion. I tried to state this on the REI website but they won’t allow me to post a criticism of their poles. I would attach a photo of the unreadable message if I could…

    • Tom Crandall
      Tom Crandall on

      Hi Barbara,

      Sorry to hear that. I am not sure if your poles could have been tightened with a penny or quarter, but some do have this as an option. Still having a pole do this to you really sucks. I suppose you should always check your poles prior to using them, but I can’t remember the last time I actually did. I typically rotate between different pole sets. I am a big Nordic Walker and use Leki and Fizan Nordic poles.

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